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BP Broken Promises: Shareholder meeting targeted over tar sands and Gulf spill

Our allies the UK Tar Sands Network and the Indigenous Environmental Network are working with coastal community members impacted by the Gulf spill and groups like Global Exchange in London to hold BP accountable.

As reported in the Independent, “Oil giant BP faced the anger of protesters inside and outside its annual general meeting today, which came just days before the first anniversary of the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster. Activists wearing t-shirts which spelt out “No Tar Sands” in protest against BP’s extraction of oil in Canada were dragged out as they tried to stage a demonstration during the meeting.”

It further reports, ” Louisiana fisherwoman Diane Wilson was arrested for breach of the peace after a demonstration in which she smeared herself in an oil-like substance as she tried to gain access to the AGM. Ms Wilson had previously protested last year at the US Congressional committee hearing when then BP chief executive Tony Hayward gave evidence. Speaking outside the Excel centre in London’s Docklands before making her protest, Ms Wilson said the only way to stop the kind of accidents that had happened in the Gulf of Mexico was to make corporate officers responsible and bring manslaughter charges against Mr Hayward.”My community is dead. We’ve worked five generations there and now we’ve got a dead community. I’m angry, I’ve been angry a long time,” she said.”

On the tar sands, the article reports, “Clayton Thomas-Muller, a member of the Indigenous Environmental Network, told the board BP’s activity in Canada was putting it at increased risk of legal action and was bad for shareholders. The campaigner from Mathais Colomb Cree Nation in Northern Manitoba said: “The board is demonstrating a complete disregard for its shareholders by continuing to venture into this project, it’s a risky investment.” During the discussion on tar sands, a group from the UK Tar Sands Network wearing T-shirts spelling out the words “No Tar Sands” attempted to stand up and protest against the oil source, which critics say is far more polluting than conventional oil, but were dragged out of the AGM. Jess Worth, from the group, said they had tried to stage a peaceful, silent protest against the extraction of the tar sands in Canada, which she described as the “most destructive project on Earth”

You can read a BBC story here.

This is part of a week-long campaign for the UK Tar Sands Network and the IEN, you can find out more about their tar sands tour here. Both the Network and IEN have worked with the Council of Canadians in warning of the risks of the proposed Canadian European free trade agreement to climate policy in Europe and regulating the tar sands in Canada – a point that will be coming up in planned activities.

You can watch a video of the Network demanding a meeting with British Trade Minister on this subject, here.

Last week, the Council of Canadians coordinated a letter signed by Canadian civil society organizations on this subject, demanding an end to Canadian lobbying of the EU Commission and Parliament to weaken a proposed climate policy that recognized the tar sands as a high carbon crude.